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We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again, no one can fill Dame Helen Mirren‘s shoes… and the newbie star, Stefanie Martini, who is set to take on the younger Jane Tennison in the Prime Suspect prequel agrees — planning to make the role her own.

Martini’s first TV role was in 2016 as Georgina Mortmaigne in the period drama Endeavor. Winning the starring role in the prequel, Prime Suspect: 1973, is quite an accomplishment and she understands the weight that comes with carrying the show as the lead.

The young actress recently talked to DigitalSpy about signing on to the prequel, which was originally entitled Tennison, but after the name change, it all kind of sunk in, with Martini saying, “I was like, ‘Tennison, OK, cool, it’s a different thing’ and then, ‘OK, nope, it’s Prime Suspect, definitely, the same name,’ so it did make it a bit more real for me!”

Now that the title is official, with Prime Suspect as part of the name, Martini talks about the perks that come with the decision, saying, “It hit home a bit more, the size of what we were trying to do and what it would mean to people. But I think it’s good, at least people will know what it’s about, rather than thinking it’s about the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson. That’s what a lot of my friends thought — that I’d be in a corset, riding a horse!”

We see she has at least one thing in common with her Prime Suspect predecessor, Martini has a good sense of humor about things.

Martini understands it’s inevitable some audience members will make comparisons between the younger and original Tennison, but she tried to keep the two separate when tackling the role, treating the new series as a standalone, saying, “I have where it’s going in the back of my mind, but then I just tried to forget about it and deal with each scene as it comes.”

Jane Tennison in her 20s, working as a probation officer, is going to be much different in her 40s as a lead detective, leaving Martini plenty of room to work. She talked about the character’s growth, saying, “It’s great knowing where she ends up, it gives me something to play against, rather than play up to and try to imitate. The interesting thing about the series is the fact that she’s so different.”

She even gives us a little teaser of what to expect with the new series, elaborating on the younger Tennison, saying, “What I found really fun to play about her is the clumsiness, all the little mistakes she makes. She’s so eager, she’s so front-footed, but she kind of falls over.”

According to DigitalSpy, Martini auditioned three times during a five-month period… so, it’s no exaggeration when saying she won this spot. And with great power comes great responsibility (for those who are fans of the Spider-Man franchise).

Prime Suspect: 1973 will air on PBS in the U.S. and ITV in the U.K later this year.

What do you think about taking a step back in time to 1973 London? 

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By Brigid Brown